Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Interview questions

The woman had a lot of interview questions for me when we met—simple questions, like "do you like ear rubs?" and "do you permit yourself to be moved hither and thither in a horse trailer?", but also complex questions like, "do you move with eager curiosity into deep dark forests and around mysterious bends?" and, "will you mind if I sometimes forget myself and call you Gussykins?" 

I assured her that yes, I do indeed move with eager curiosity! I do indeed permit myself to be moved in horse trailers, and I do indeed like ear rubs rather a lot. I do even permit myself to be called Gussykins, or Snuffy, or even Boopsnoot. 

Today, we went out on our first ever hike on the trails behind this boarding stable. The trails were very enticing, promising all manner of adventures. We are not yet going riding together, as the woman is of the opinion that I need my feet trimmed and my general wellbeing assessed before attempting athletic feats. I have a funny habit of stretching my left hind leg from time to time, and also a funny feeling in my mouth that she says is caused by "hooks," and will be better on Monday. I feel for the fish!

I'm glad she didn't ask me to explain the difference between dialectical and historical materialism during the interview, or to tell her my typing speed. Let me tell you—it is S.L.O.W. Much better now that I have her transcription assistance. 

In memory of the late Fenway, I wish this for you: my your hay be sweet and abundant. May your trails be smooth and scenic. May your friends be as nice as me, and as Fenway Bartholomule. 

"Ears to you," as the old man would say! 


P.S. I offered to pose next to several beautiful varieties of poisonous flowers, but she told me we did not yet have that level of trust in our relationship. Instead, she let me pose next to these delicious grasses. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Will I get a toothbrush?

There is an equine dentist coming to see me on Monday! I’m told that seeing the dentist is a normal thing for a mule to do, but this will be my first time. I hope I don’t need braces! I’ll let you know how it goes. 

I hear some dentists give out toothbrushes, or even stickers. Do you think I can ask for a sticker, or is that silly for a teenager like me? 

Shinefully yours, 


Monday, June 28, 2021

Oven Island

They told me I was moving to an island. I pictured mai tais and sea breezes and delicious grass skirts. I pictured heat. Then, they told me, "no, Gus. It is not that kind of island. On this island there are rocky shores and bunny rabbits and cool mossy pathways under giant cedar trees." 

I'm cool, I go with the flow. Cool mossy pathways sound delicious too! I was all for this new kind of island.

Well, I am here now and I can tell you there are no mai tais. There are no sea breezes. There are no delicious grass skirts, although there are some delicious grass meadows. The rocks on the shore are 300 degrees in the sun. The bunny rabbits have all fainted from the heat and the cool mossy pathways under giant cedar trees are being desperately watered by concerned stewards. 

The only member of the family who really likes this 100+ degree heat is the avocado tree (pictured), who has finally moved out of the window and onto the porch for the first time in her short life. She seems to be loving it. 

As for me, I recently got paired up with this big roan, L., for turnout (after the day this photo was taken, we were moved from adjacent fields into the same field). He's a youngster, so perhaps I can use my wisdom and maturity to guide him into the shade while he uses his colossal shadow to afford me extra protection. Everyone at the barn is being quite accommodating, moving all of us hither and thither throughout the day in pursuit of the best shady spots. 

Stay cool, 


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Short, Dark, and Handsome


When I first moved into this boarding barn, people were asking three primary questions: 

1) do you understand electric fencing? 

2) how long might you stay? 

3) will your name stay "Gus"? 

Now that folks have had a few days to get to know me, I'm steeling myself for new questions: 

1) how can we avoid burning our eyes on your blinding SHINE? 

2) will our mares ever settle down with someone so short, dark, and handsome in their midst? 

3) can I have a recording of your tuneful bray to use as my ringtone? 

I think I like these people and I'm almost certain they like me.

Yours cutely,


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Mule: 1. Danger String: 0.

The fences here are made of danger string, but I've got it figured out. There's a roan horse beside me, and when he touched the danger string it bit him. Here's where the story gets strange: he backed away, and it did not pursue. Though it is clearly predatory, I think it is rooted in place—it may be some kind of carnivorous plant. 

Thank goodness that's established. Now that I understand that the fences are a look-but-don't-touch affair, I get daily turnout in a lovely grassy field. My neighbors are getting used to my unsettling handsomeness and my soprano voice (not unlike this guy's).   

I was supposed to get a pedicure today but thanks to some inconveniences related to this being an island (which I think means we're floating at sea?) I got a nice massage and some clicker loading training instead. I have begun to understand that when the new woman accidentally makes an unfortunate clicking sound with her mouth, she follows it immediately with a gift of snacks as some form of apology. 

Finally, I met an admirer—a friend of the woman's—who came aaaaalll the way across the valley to meet me. The fact that she did it in a car, in under five minutes, makes it a no less generous use of her time. Thank you, A, for the delightful visit! 



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Introducing myself

Pictured, the boopable snoot for which I am known.

I am Songbird Sparrowgrass. If that’s not to your taste, you may call me GusBird Boopsnoot. Some call me Gus, or Bird. I am in between families right now, and in between names. I like this new family, and I think I shall stay. 

I grew up in Kentucky, where I pulled wagons and carried riders. You can see me doing those things here, on a YouTube page maintained by someone I once knew. I don’t like the word owner, so let’s not call him that. 

I lived in Rochester, Washington for the past year, where I learned that donkeys are friends and that horse shoes can be put on in a number of ways, including sideways (see below). That family was kind to me, but they didn’t provide me with a Blogger account or the services of a transcriptionist. This new gig seems to be a bit of a promotion, since it includes established social media accounts, the shiny new url "", plus meals and accommodations. 

This move, for me, is more personal than professional: I am now a member of the Jackson-Bartholomule family. I’m told that there was another mule here, also shiny and brown (purely by coincidence) and also good with words (somewhat by design). I’ve seen his pictures, and seen that he, like I, had a kind eye that told of hardship and of trust. There’s a third mule somewhere in the mix: not deceased, but living away at a boarding camp of some sort. Her name is Miss Teaspoon and though I’ve not met her I’ve been asked to assure readers that she is quite well. 

The Brays Of Our Lives empire, such that it is, is mine if I want it. I think I will try this blogging thing on for size and see if it suits me—and please, dear reader, let me know if it suits you too. 



Monday, June 21, 2021

A new face in town

This blog has been through a lot of changes: first it was Fenway's Brays of Our Lives, then it was my Puddle Run, then it was the two of them smashed together, then it was Notes from the Ark, and now it's Brays of Our Lives again, but with a twist: there's a new blogger in town. 

I'll let him introduce himself as soon as he's good and ready. In the meantime, I will tantalize you with this: he's 14.3 hands tall, 13 years old, and in possession of the most splendiferous ears and the most boopable snoot. He joined our family yesterday, on Summer Solstice, 3 years and 19 days after we lost my dear Fenway. 

It feels good to have a mule in my life again. 

Ears to you,

(Pictured: the new kid in a pipe corral paddock, since it seems that in his 13 years he has not yet learned about electric fencing. He is currently boarded at a place where he'll need to know about danger string. We will work on it.)